I have a friend who I hang out with when I go to the bars. Every time we do, he acts and treats me like his boyfriend. He holds my arms like I am his. He stands really, *really* close to me. Guys ask me all the time if he’s my boyfriend. I tell them no. Some guys just assume that he is. What makes this situation a little more embarrassing is my friend is 15 years older than I am. So guys not only think he is my boyfriend but they think he is my sugar daddy. That’s why I always tell him not to buy me any drinks because I don’t want to look like his boyfriend or worse, his *”boy.”*
There is another irritating thing about this situation. When he sees a possible trick, he acts like I would prefer him to act around me…like a friend. He’ll even tell me to go walk around and leave him until he gets his guy.
I like hanging out with him but how should I approach the subject so I don’t hurt his feelings or crush his self-esteem?
— Killing My Groove
Your friend is suffering from a severe case of rectal-cranial inversion. Translation: He’s an a–hole.
He’s using you like my editor uses this rag to sell ads. He waves the articles to bait the audience to sell space in his publication. Your friend waves you around to bait his audience to sell space in his pants.
He’s trying to look popular and desirable by making people think he’s got a young, good-looking thing glommed on to him. When he needs you to serve his purpose he gives you the royal treatment. When you’ve served your purpose he kicks you to the curb. Some friend.
You need to be clear that he is not the aggrieved party. You are. He’s using you to get laid. That, of course, is admirable, but not reciprocal. Friends *should* help each other get laid. I see how you’re helping him, but how is he helping you?
Here’s my advice: Act like a liberated Iraqi. Take your shoe off and beat him like he was a fallen statue of Saddam Hussein. Of course, you want to remain friends with him so perhaps a better piece of advice might be to use the royal “we” in a conversation with him.
Try this: “You know, almost everyone thinks we’re boyfriends and it’s messin’ with my mojo. I finally figured it out—we’re standing too close to each other and sometimes we touch like we’re lovers. See how we’re standing three inches away from each other while other friends in the bar are standing a foot away from each other? Let’s try doing that so guys won’t be afraid to approach me.”
And then step a foot away from him and change the subject. If he moves in or touches you like a lover just gently call him on it. Say: “Oh, we’re doing it again,” and step away.
One more thing. That business of refusing to let him buy you drinks? Get over it. Never let the fear of a quid pro quo get in the way of a good buzz.